Tag Archives: news

Beautiful News from the Guardian UK

I don’t know why this all happened at once, but I came across 2 really dope articles, that give me heart that the world isn’t totally awful:

US Agency Posts ‘Most Wanted’ List for Eco Crimes – Now, normally I would expect that this list would be of so called ‘eco terrorists’, with associated absurd rhetoric.  However, the list is actually of polluters who have dodged their fines or punishment.  Quite novel considering the overblown fanaticism that is the Green Scare.

No new coal – the calling card of the ‘green Banksy’ who breached fortress Kingsnorth – Someone just walked into a giant coal-fired power plant and turned it off.  Seriously, that simple.  They didn’t climb anything, no drama, just found their way in, and jammed a turbine, and left a message why.  Really dope.  Part of the message seemed to include a statistic claiming shutting the turbine reduced UK CO2 emissions by 2%, which points out how easy it could be to target a select number of companies/producers and vastly reduce carbon footprints.

WSN Doing It’s Job?

Normally the target of ridicule for mediocre reporting and sycophatic relationships with NYU, the local Washington Square News has actually been doing a pretty good job of reporting and challenging the administration on a host of things, like:

Lying about crime stats

John Sexton’s Large large large compensation

Security Guard cuts on campus, and NYU’s attempted coverup

With the exception of the Coke ban article today, which continued a long and proud tradition of denigrating progressive movements on NYU’s campus.  This article is seriously a failure of the journalistic enterprise, and Phoebe Kingsak should not be allowed anywhere near a newspaper for the extended future.  Her article reads almost exacly like the pro-Coke op-ed published yesterday, and that’s an embarassment.

SHAC 7 Almost News

Hm, so all the sudden the NY Post and Daily News, followed by Gothamist got all worked up about animal cruelty – they all wrote about a case of a man who stabbed his wife’s beagle to death earlier this week.  Interestingly, cruelty towards Beagles is a cornerstone of research at the terrific Huntingdon Life Sciences, which performs a variety of tests on animals for cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and other corporate entities.   Huntingdon has been the target of a very successful campaign called Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) that got the company delisted from several stock exchanges and nearly crippled its finances.  In the US, the federal government targeted SHAC activists for persecution, imprisoning 6 for expressing free speech that happened to impact HLS’s bottom line – speech that is now a crime.

So, why this one?  Why this story?  There are so many more important ones out there.  Keep yer eyes open.

Writing the New ‘Virtuous’ Newspaper


The virtuous circle from Digitaldickinson on Vimeo.

Andy Dickenson made an interesting post on the idea of a ‘virtuous circle’ that animates contemporary news writing – the thesis is that journalists should become better members of a media-community by writing in ways that listen to and benefit the people they write about. Per an amendement from another blogger, this includes making links and engaging the bloggers you write about conversationally, on a personal level.

When I try to tell people about the work I do, I often have to resort to a series of vague or endlessly complex descriptors – I usually say something like: “Well, I’m a journalist/blogger/activist/PR type” or just “Web shit.” For me, the ‘link economy’ means that writers have to become part-time savants, writing as members of a movement or industry, while journalists primarily act as sorters and assemblers of information, with the time to put feet on the ground and pursue official sources.

I think there are two points:

First, that in a world with so much writing done by so many people, creating a fragmented viewership, writers have to become PR agents as well. Writing doesn’t mean anything as such, because it gets lost in the wash of information available on the internet. That means that writers have to do their own promotion – and the best way to do promotion is through ‘loose ties’ and folks that know your relationship yields mutual benefits. Thus the importance of active participation in social movements, and mutual linking – both of these generate loose ties and create connections where both people can benefit from an interaction.

Second, the idea of ‘journalistic magic.’ I’m sure this has a more specific, fleshed out meaning, but I’d like to propose one way to think about the ‘magic’ that might be useful for people designing new media-products. What people lack more than anything is time, and it is time that makes good writing possible – editing, revisions, pursuing sources, etc. The difference between original, effective content and the wash of blather is a division of labor, where some writers can afford to make the time to take their writing seriously, and others can’t. The best way to make original content that stands out from the mileu is to pay people enough that they take their writing seriously – it doesn’t have to be a huge sum, but just enough for them to take a few hours to work over a post, make some phone calls, etc.

So, in my mind, an effective ‘new newspaper’ would be based around a specific location or institution, making small payments to part time writers that engage that place/institution as something other than merely writers. A motley crew of writers, bloggers, and editors that build a brand around one idea or place, rather than around the idea of news as such.